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OBSERVATION STAYS: 40 percent over 24 hours in 2009

This is a study of prolonged observation visits–those lasting longer than 8 hours–based on nearly 700,000 observation stays that occurred in 12 states in 2009.  Here is the distribution of hospital observation visits according to the length of stay in the observation unit.

Observation Stays According to Length of Stay in Observation

  • 60 percent  8-24 hours
  • 31 percent  25-48 hours
  •   5 percent  49-72 hours
  •   4 percent  73+ hours

[I calculated these percents based on Table 2.]

Source: Hockenberry, J.M., Mutter, R., and others.  Factors associated with prolonged observation stays and the impact of long stays on patient cost.  Health Services Research;49(3):893-909, June 2014.  Click here for access to publisher’s website: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1475-6773.12143/abstract  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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